Deconstruction of Dharmas – Dagblad Buddhism

We watch a movie and so we suspect a projector. In short, this is the area that our mind extends to us according to Buddhism. The movie is our experience. projector, this is “ourselves”

Traditionally, Buddhism does not think as we do about things, but about relationships. The thing we think we perceive in our experience is, after all, something that arises from the realm of relationships.

Reality is a constructed reality. You can train your brain to see relationships, not builders. If you succeed in doing this enough, you will henceforth break through the illusion produced by the untrained mind.

The trained mind “sees” relationships in reality. Relationships are in constant flux. Experience that change, this is the movie.

The monitor, however, is not there. With the Buddhist experience of relationship-filled reality, the concept of a permanent self fades away. The self is just one of the many images in the movie. Seeing things as they are, as relationships, is one possible way to experience the famous Buddhist concept of emptiness.

Note that Buddhism does not deny the reality of self-experience. We need this experience to some extent to function in everyday life. But the self is not the compass with which to navigate everything. It is good when we realize it is what it is: an illusion. Then we can’t be fooled and focus on what really matters.


Many Buddhist monks have studied how human experience emerged after the appearance of the historical Buddha. If you try to find out exactly how many different types of experiences your film consists of, you are pretty much imitating what these monks did. Based on the directions given by the Buddha, they gradually developed a detailed division into five “experience modes”: forms (objects), perception, consciousness, feelings and will.

Everything that happens to you in your movie is an interaction between these five experience modes. You are aware of something, but you don’t have to be aware of it. What is in your consciousness is only part of your experience. You can have a perception of something and a feeling at the same time. The two may be related, but not necessarily. When you examine your experience, you may also encounter acts of will. You encounter will when faced with what drives you.

Things have been called “dharmas” since the time of early Buddhism. Dharmas are a decade of relationships in our experience. Our task is to find out how all constructed reality is made up of its component parts: the deconstruction of the dharma, so to speak.

It takes a certain subtlety of your analytical abilities to distinguish between all these experiences and others, but you can learn that. By doing this you are following in the footsteps of the monks who did so in the centuries after Buddha’s death.

The five styles of experience are called “skandas” in Buddhism. It may take some time to understand exactly what this means. This is because everyone is trying to explain in their own words what the word Skanda means. There is a difference in terminology, a difference in application, and a difference in clarity of interpretation.

After the source period of Buddhism (the emergence of the Buddha and immediately afterwards) came the period of poly-school Buddhism. At that time, Buddhists began to adopt divergent interpretations of the teachings. This has not changed after that.


Thus, although Skanda may also be a subject of confusion, I shall treat them here for convenience, but in the language of my understanding. It is important that each of the skandhas, that is, each distinct type of experience, is itself a field of relationships.

The interaction of these relationships colors your movie experience, as it were. It’s as if in your movie show the skandhas rotate on top of each other like different lenses. The metaphor of rotating lenses on top of each other is enough to express how your experience is made up of different layers.

In discussions with Buddhists, I sometimes notice that the basics of Buddhism easily slip away. Somehow we get stuck in a binary view of the world: there I am, there is truth.

It’s not that simple either, because you have to move from thinking about things to experiencing areas of relationships. It often comes as a force every time that requires people to take themselves into a different fantasy world than usual.

Doing so requires a certain amount of plastic language and mental gymnastics that is required if you want to know the difference between object, concept, image, and emotion. We understand the difference intuitively, but making this aware to many is an abstract philosophical exercise. However, it is a requirement if you want to approach Buddhism in a meaningful way.

Buddhism cannot do without developing the ability to analyze what is going on in your experience; She cannot do without learning to perceive what she perceives. Skanda is the basis of Buddhist experiential education.

Buddhism has many more complex ways of describing the human experience. For example, we owe it to the period of many schools of Buddhism (I took these terms from Thich Nhat Hanh) a classification of all kinds of moods people could be in, which is still widely used. In the field of relationships a state of calm, anger, energy, happiness or fear can arise.


You can make a long list of these moods. In Buddhism, they are called “mental formations”. In Thich Nhat Hanh you will find a total of fifty one. In word formations, you can again hear that something is made up of an interaction between relations.

Such mental formations can be beneficial or unhealthy, an important plus. Important because beneficial and unhealthy provide an indication of the direction of your actions. The state of mind and action are closely related. Buddhism has been concerned from the beginning with what makes the whole (useful) and what breaks (unhealthy). Beneficial actions reduce the suffering of yourself and others, and increase unhealthy work.

When the mind stops playing tricks on us and you can freely decide the direction of your actions, then you are able to do what makes it perfect in any given situation. For this reason, the wording of the Eightfold Path also speaks of “correct vision”, “right living”, “correct concentration”, etc. What is right exactly is not described in the commandment. It is exactly what is useful in the pragmatism of the situation.

Skanda, each style of experience, is literally transformed into an area of ​​focus in Buddhism. In the Sutras on Attracting Attention, the Satpatana Sutra (MN 10), the Buddha provides directions for a method you can take to improve the analysis of your experience.

Dharma, now drawn and singular, is Buddha’s understanding of building relationships that include all possible experiences. This revelation can reach anyone who develops their attention adequately along the lines of the Satipatthana Sutra or other alternative Buddhist traditions.

change perspective

Focusing on your experience, analyzing that experience appropriately, rethinking things in relationships, and discovering how to transform moods and behavior into blessing – this is the essence of Buddhism. Buddha launched a movement aimed and intended to penetrate the illusions that the mind can present to us. Learning to break through these illusions leads to freedom, the freedom on the basis of which you are able to act in a spirit of perfection for everyone and everything.

I note that this freedom is not necessarily absolute. Most people have to bring themselves back over and over to the point where this freedom arises and even then they can only do what they can under the given circumstances. Our conditions of existence often have certain limitations that we simply cannot bypass.

So it is not said that complete liberation in this life is within everyone’s reach. The spiritual training of Buddhism teaches you to deal with changing the perspective of thing and relationship, freedom and lack of freedom, suffering and happiness. This is already a lot in practice.

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